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Brand Finance Global Forum 2020: The Value of Design to Society

15 October 2020, 14:00–15:00

For the first time, in response to the governmental restrictions regarding social distancing to help combat COVID-19, Brand Finance hosted the Global Forum online. In a series of live webinars, we unwrapped the issues which affect brands as they aim to leverage design for commercial success, featuring a programme of high-profile speakers, stimulating discussions and thought-provoking insights

The 17th annual Brand Finance Global Forum, sponsored by Tata Consultancy Services, focused on Understanding the Value of Design.

Design is one of the primary elements of brand identity. Given that the interpretation of a design depends on an individual’s perceptions of the brand, it is important for brands to make effective use of visual tools to strategically position themselves with stakeholders.

However, design is not solely about aesthetics and brand positioning; it is also key to how a product works and how it can be useful to the customer. In an evolving marketplace and during these particularly challenging times of COVID 19, for a brand to stay consistent, yet at the same time current and competitive, it must remain in touch with the relevance of its design to stakeholders, both in terms of perception and practicality.

The online conference consisted of three one-hour-long webinars on Thursdays in October, November, and December 2020, featuring guest speaker presentations and interactive Q&A discussions.

Our first webinar the in the series focused on The Value of Design to Society.

As well as keeping members of society connected and engaged visually, the way a brand or product is designed plays a vital role in everyone’s lives, particularly in regards to practicality, cost, safety, general navigation and wellbeing. It is also now important more than ever to keep in mind the ever-growing factors around intellectual property rights, sustainability and the consideration of social responsibility.​

Featuring guest speaker presentations and an interactive Q&A discussion, this webinar  explored the role design has within society, and how a response to design can play a key factor in assessing demographics and behaviors, which is particularly poignant in the current social, political and environmental climate.

The full webinar is available to view online below:

Global Forum 2020 Programme:

Click the links below to view our other webinars in the series:

5th November 2020- The Value of Design to Customers

10th December 2020 - The Value of Design to Businesses

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In association with
Tata Consultancy Services
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is a global leader in IT services, digital and business solutions that partners with its clients to simplify, strengthen and transform their businesses. We ensure the highest levels of certainty and satisfaction through a deep-set commitment to our clients, comprehensive industry expertise and a global network of innovation and delivery centers.
Tata Consultancy Services Website
Foreign Press Association

The FPA is a not-for-profit Friendly Society. As a member of the UK Press Card Authority, it provides official journalistic accreditation to more than 1,800 international correspondents every year. All media are represented: from print and news agencies to broadcast and digital. Freelancers are welcome in all categories. ​

The FPA is the only association that can provide foreign journalist with access to Parliament. Throughout the year, the FPA holds a wide-ranging programme of briefings, facilitating access to Government Ministers, Whitehall, the City's financial district and Royal events. We also organise book presentations, Brexit briefings, events with key politicians etc.

Foreign Press Association Website
Museum of Brands

The Museum of Brands in London examines the history of consumer culture from Victorian times to the present day.

Museum of Brands Website
World Trademark Review
World Trademark Review Website


David Haigh
Chairman and CEO
Brand Finance

David is the Chairman and CEO of Brand Finance Plc – the world’s leading brand valuation consultancy. He has worked in the area of branded business, brand, and intangible asset valuation since 1991. He specialised entirely in the field after becoming the Director of Brand Valuation for Interbrand in 1995. He subsequently left Interbrand in 1996 to launch Brand Finance which is celebrating 25 years in business this year.

David represented the British Standards Institution in the working parties responsible for crafting international industry standards: ISO 10668 on Brand Valuation in 2010 and ISO 20671 on Brand Evaluation in 2019.

David is a passionate writer and has authored many articles on brand valuation, published in numerous marketing and finance newspapers and magazines, such as: Financial Times, Accountancy Age, and Marketing Week. He has also lectured on the topic of brand valuation for Harvard, Chicago, and London Business Schools.

David graduated from Bristol University with an English degree, qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in London, and obtained a postgraduate diploma in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM). He is a Fellow of The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and has a practising certificate with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

John Mathers
Former CEO
UK Design Council

John has been working for forty years in the brand and design industry, leading a number of marketing, brand and design consultancies in the UK and Internationally including WPP’s flagship Brand Consultancy.

He led the UK Design Council through a period of change, moving on from that role in 2016 after five years as CEO.

In 2017 he co-founded The British Design Fund, a venture capital fund supporting well-designed British product start-ups.

He is also working with the Design & Innovation School of Tongji University, Shanghai, on establishing a Design Innovation Hub in London in 2019.

His other commitments include sitting on the Board of Falmouth University, Chairing MOBIE, a home-making education charity and sitting on the Steering Group for the Creative Informatics Programme ( UKRI ) led by Edinburgh University.

John also Chairs the annual DRUM Design Awards, is a judge on China’s IDA Awards programme and speaks regularly at Design conferences and summits around the world.

John is also a Strategy Director at Brand Finance, focusing on design and innovation.

He has a Law Degree and a MBA from Edinburgh University.

Mike Albers
Chief Creative Officer, W12 Studios
W12 Studios

Michael Albers is the Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder of W12 Studios, an award winning digital design studio that focuses on media, brand and technology. Headquartered in London, the studio partners with a global portfolio of clients including Intel, Verizon, NBC, Vodafone, Vevo and Virgin. Michael leads the day-to-day creative direction of the agency and manages the team of 40 designers in his role as CCO. He has over fifteen years experience designing digital products and solutions for leading global brands. Michael has received accolades from Red Dot, CHI, F1 Connectivity Innovation Award and Design Week and has been featured in Wired Magazine. He graduated with an MSc from the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea and holds a double Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art & Design in Industrial and Furniture Design.

Steve Thomson
Insight Director
Brand Finance

Steve Thomson leads the survey component of the Global Soft Power Index programme. He has a wealth of experience gained across a 30+ year career focussing on understanding consumer values, attitudes and behaviour around the world. Steve leads the market research practice at Brand Finance including management of our proprietary research programme in over 30 markets. He has widespread expertise in consumer values and trends, brand positioning and strategy, public opinion, nation branding, and advertising effectiveness. He has direct research experience in 60 markets across a diverse range of cultures, from single-market deep-dives through to the management of large global insight programmes. He is an acknowledged expert on the impact of social forces (online social media and offline word-of-mouth) on brand choices, and how these drive commercial outcomes for brand owners. As such he is a regular speaker at industry conferences.

Gabriela Salinas
Global Managing Director
Brand Finance Institute

Gabriela is a Global Managing Director of the Brand Finance Institute. She has a broad international experience, having worked for clients such as Bank of America, Repsol, YPF, Telefónica, Terra Networks, Bausch & Lomb, Johnson & Johnson, Roca, GM, Great Eastern Life.

In addition to her everyday work, she lectures on Brand Valuation, Management and Strategy at several business schools in Europe and Latin America. Gabriela has written numerous academic articles and books on brand valuation, among others: “Brand Valuation: a review of approaches, providers and methodologies” (2007, Deusto, Spain), “Brand Valuation: measuring to create value” (2008, Deusto, Spain) and “The International Brand Valuation Manual” (2009, Wiley, United Kingdom).

Ashish Babu
Chief Marketing Officer, Europe & UK

Ashish Babu is the Chief Marketing Officer at Tata Consultancy Services, responsible for leading TCS’ brand, growth marketing and communications, for the UK & Europe region. With 22 years' experience across different markets and roles, Ashish developed countless marketing and communication campaigns that have won more than 40 awards globally and helped develop TCS’ brand. Prior to joining TCS, Ashish headed communications for Tata Sky. He started his career in Bangalore and since then moved to Delhi, Mumbai, London and now works in Amsterdam. Ashish lives in Hague and enjoys, Padel tennis, exploring the Dutch countryside on his gravel bike and spending time with his wife Candice and children Aarin and Aaliyah.



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